hummingbird cake

I know, I know: We’re still in a global pandemic. It’s no time for party-sized cakes. Passover is in three days and those who celebrate it don’t want to be tempted by forbidden baked goods. But it had been so long since I&#82…

I know, I know: We’re still in a global pandemic. It’s no time for party-sized cakes. Passover is in three days and those who celebrate it don’t want to be tempted by forbidden baked goods. But it had been so long since I’d made a towering and abundantly festive layer cake and ever since spotting this hummingbird cake in Zoë François’s fantastic — like, just go buy it right now, you are in for a treat — new cookbook, Zoë Bakes Cakes, I couldn’t think about anything else. It feels forward-looking and spring-celebrational. It is deliciously warm and happy, almost defiant, planning for a brighter year ahead, no matter what the one before it looked like. And so I went all in and made a three-layer celebration cake and flung slices off with friends and neighbors and have absolutely no regrets, except for the fact that it’s gone now.

what you'll needwet ingredientsadd flour and pecansthree layersquickest cream cheese frostingsecond layerfinal layerfirst coat

Read more »

gingerbread yule log

Because I’m a restless cook, never interested in making things I already know how to, a couple years ago I challenged myself to turn my favorite gingerbread cake into a roulade. Or, yes, a Yule log.* Five bottles of molasses, two jars of…

Because I’m a restless cook, never interested in making things I already know how to, a couple years ago I challenged myself to turn my favorite gingerbread cake into a roulade. Or, yes, a Yule log.* Five bottles of molasses, two jars of ground ginger, a gallon of heavy cream, several frantic pleas to friends that I had too much Yule log in my apartment and would they please come take some home, and two Christmases later, stop what you’re doing, you are going to love this.

gingerbread yule log

My goal was a holiday baking project that feels festive, looks a little fancy, but where every step is totally doable. You don’t need to have pre-committed to a life of fussiness to make this. You don’t need an elaborate sprinkle collection, gold leaf, piping bags, or a candy thermometer; we’re not even going to separate eggs. The cake is one-bowl, can be whisked by hand, takes all of 5 minutes to make the batter and 8 minutes to bake it. It rolls, unrolls, and rolls again without cracking — I would never lie to you. The filling is just whipped cream because as tempted as I was to make an eggnog-flavored German buttercream filling, I prefer gingerbread with barely sweetened, slightly tang cream. The cranberries are sugared. And the bark? Wait until I tell you about the bark. [Me, to every friend who I texted with yesterday, despite none of them actually asking me about the bark.]

Read more »

dulce de leche chocoflan

If you spend any time on Pinterest or Instagram food searches, and who that hangs out here does not, I bet at least once in the last couple years, your Explore tab led you to the photogenic, decadent world of chocoflans. If not, let this post …

If you spend any time on Pinterest or Instagram food searches, and who that hangs out here does not, I bet at least once in the last couple years, your Explore tab led you to the photogenic, decadent world of chocoflans. If not, let this post fix your suggestions right now. Chocoflans, sometimes called impossible flan (pastel imposible), are one part flan (a sweetened egg custard with caramel or dulce de leche) and one part plush chocolate cake. They’re considered a bit magical, not only because they combine two of the most wonderful desserts in the world, but because of what happens in the oven. Even though it goes into the oven with the cake batter in first and the flan in second, as it bakes, the batters flip. Once you invert it out of the baking pan, you end up with the flan on top and the cake underneath. I’ve read that this is because the cake, as it rises in the oven, becomes lighter than the flan layer, so the flan sinks and I, a non-scientist, based on little more than liking the sound of it, have concluded that it makes total sense.

what you'll needdulce de lechesift your dry ingredientsslowly add liquidsmixedsmooth in chocolate battergently ladle flan batter oververy full!water bath, then bakebaked

Read more »

new classic wedding cake + how to

In the months before my wedding, I periodically suggested I might like to make our wedding cake (because most giant wedding cakes are terrible) and was swiftly shot down by everyone who heard it. “You’re crazy.” “It&#82…

In the months before my wedding, I periodically suggested I might like to make our wedding cake (because most giant wedding cakes are terrible) and was swiftly shot down by everyone who heard it. “You’re crazy.” “It’s too much work.” “Do you want to spend your Special Day covered in frosting?” And so I relented and our wedding cake tasted like processed awfulness and it bothered me so much that I volunteered to make the wedding cake for friends a few years later, in 2008. At the end of this fun but exhausting endeavor, I declared the accounting of terrible and wonderful wedding cakes in the universe to be infinitesimally more in balance and making wedding cakes to be “completely out of my system.” That lasted about nine years, when one of my oldest and favorite-est friends got married in 2018. However, I waited completely until the last minute to start it and while we loved it in the end, the absolutely-my-fault stress/chaos of the project definitely set the clock back on me making another wedding cake for at least another nine years. But a mere year and a half later, another fabulous friend got engaged to another wonderful guy and that brings us up to a couple weeks ago: wedding cake three. Three wedding cakes in, I’ve learned a lot of stuff that doesn’t fall in your usual wedding cake baking guide and since I’m definitely never making another wedding cake (“I mean it this time!” I say with such thin resolve it’s clear even I don’t buy it anymore), I think we should start here.

all ready to go to the party

Read more »